Well, consider this to be the news that just about everyone saw coming. This past episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver featured a segment all about China, and now, it has apparently been blocked in the country.
According to a report from the New York Times, new attempts to create a post containing the words “John Oliver” on the country’s micro-blogging site Weibo are now being met with an error message. Meanwhile, the segment about China has been largely scrubbed out. There are still other mentions of Oliver’s series present on the platform, though unrelated to the segment that aired.
There was, more than likely, an understanding behind the scenes at Last Week Tonight that this would happen, given that the bulk of this segment was hyper-critical of China’s policies and also the heavy amount of censorship that goes on in the country. Also, the frequent comparisons of Chinese leader Xi Jinping to Winnie the Pooh, something that he reportedly hates, also probably did not go over altogether well.
Will this ever change for the series moving forward in China? We don’t have a lot of confidence in that, largely because China’s not the sort of place to be lenient on a show making a mockery of its leadership. Yet, we don’t foresee this stopping Oliver, either. Ironically, though, this is the second time in the past several weeks that his show has been censored in various parts of the world. Previously, portions of his show were blocked out in the United Kingdom due to rules barring broadcasters from showing Parliament in a satirical manner. His response to that was forcing UK viewers to have to watch minutes of Gilbert Gottfried instead.
We’ll see if this leads to a response from Oliver, given that the UK blocking certainly did back when it first happened. He tends to operate within his own ecosystem and we don’t foresee that changing moving forward.
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